White Sea, In Cold Blood

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White Sea is the solo project of Morgan Kibby (M83). In Cold Blood is her most recent release. It’s lush, in the sense that it is expansive and textured and the kind of thing you can easily sink into. It is operatic, in the sense that it grabs the heart, it stirs things buried deep, and then it soars. The first time I listened to it was also the third, fourth and fifth times I listened to it because I kept scrolling back and plunging back in. It’s also solid; there isn’t a single song I’d brush off as filler. I’m especially fond of They Don’t Know (the hook; if you aren’t snagged, move on); Warsaw (about being someone who should come with a warning label and knows it); Small December (because goodbye doesn’t mean you don’t love them anymore, and you can tear things down, but the outline will always remain); and NYC Loves You (because it’s true, the city will always take you back). If that stream disappears, you can also hear some excerpts at her Soundcloud page.

Alex Greenwald, Yo

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INTERNETS. NESSIE HAS SURFACED. Alex Greenwald has put his solo record out – it is called Yo – and mysteriously not said anything about it. In the event this is because he’s conducting some sort of marketing experiment, I offer my data-point, which is that it took the Tumblr-tide three weeks to bring the news to my door. Anyway, I have now listened to it four times in a row, and my reaction is: Mmm. Hmm. Interesting. It’s pop music with some echo and wubble-bubble, and for all one of the songs is a love song about a knife, there’s none of the fuzzy rage and jagged aggression that showed up in Phantom Planet’s sound. Lest that make it sound like a weightless, disposable confection, know also that lyrics have razor-sharp edges, sometimes in unexpected places. It is very much the kind of thing that becomes richer with repeated listening. Simulacre and Still Too Soon: The first two tracks are, in order, a 13 second sample of something I didn’t recognize and a song about how all the sunshine in Los Angeles can really mess with your head. This was something I wondered about when I visited, actually, if all … Continue reading

Tour Alert: Into The Sun, The March Violets

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Heads up, West Coast of America (and also Las Vegas), The March Violets are coming to visit you this June: Yes, it’s really them! They’re back! They’ve got a new record, too! It’s called Made Glorious, and you can check it out at their bandcamp page. Here are some excerpts to whet your appetite: Made Glorious by The March Violets Made Glorious by The March Violets And here is the video for Dandelion King, which features, among other things, a tremendously awesome headdress:

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink, Nicolas Snyder, 1, 2, 3

Photo by Chris Miskis

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Big Weather is 1, 2, 3‘s second record, and it is a double album. While listening to it, I decided the following: 1) If the name of your band is the same as the act of counting in, every song faces the challenge of being “4″ – the, or at least a, point of ignition … Continue reading

Covers of Note: The Rebel Light, Be My Baby

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The Rebel Light, of Los Angeles, California took a shot at The Ronettes classic – always a bold move – and in their case a successful one. They retain the massiveness of the original sound but add some of their own summery shine and the final result is warm, expansive and delightful. Bonus facts: they recorded the vocals in their bathroom and the drums in a shed. And for any of you who might be thinking hey sound a little bit like the Beach Boys, well, you are not wrong, however, when the actual Beach Boys covered this song in 2000, Brian Wilson sang it like he had an anchor attached to his ankle and was being dragged out to sea. I also found an Mike Love version from 1981 which is slightly perkier but yet still doesn’t sound quite right – too much wobble-fuzzy synthesizer, maybe. Meanwhile, here is what The Rebel Light sound like left to their own devices: